Gdje sam?

EXPERIENCE OF EUROPEAN VOLUNTERING SERVICE IN CROATIA

This experience is unforgettable, I now feel at home in Zagreb. Voluntary status allowed me to meet many incredible people, and I discover, each weekend, the wealth of landscapes and villages in Croatia, between sea and mountains! What I remember most is the exchange with people about culture and history, so different from mine, every moment is exciting and full of discoveries!

I'm Camille, I am 23 years old and I've lived for four months in Zagreb, as part of a European Voluntary Service. I'm exactly at the half of my project, which is for the moment an amazing experience!
I decided to do an EVS project to have more working experience in the area of association, to learn English and another language. I hope this experience will help me to find a job in this area.
I chose Croatia because I was attracted by the beautiful nature of this country, by the history, culture and tradition about what I didn't know anything. I would like to discover this part of the world, so important but about which we never speak in France: the Balkan.
I work for the association Volonterski Centar Zagreb, with another Polish volunteer and six colleagues. I chose this association because I was interested in the project, and the recruitment seemed serious to me (CV, motivation letter, big questioner and Skype interview). I would like to work in a network to learn more about association area.

I live on the suburb of Zagreb, 30 minutes from the centre, in an apartment with a terrace, which I share with Anna, my Polish roommate. For me, the city is beautiful and very nice (the culture of coffee in a terrace is a national pride here! And the city is full of beautiful parks and squares).
From the first days I met my coordinator, Stefania, who is my "boss" in the association, and Ana, my mentor, who introduced me to my new "Zagreb life". She also helps me in the preparation of my Youthpass.
I participated in an "arrival training" of four days in July (the "middle training" will be in December), where I met others EVS in Croatia this year. We had a short training about the European Voluntary Service, to help us to reflect about what we wanted to acquire and develop during our project.
During the first four months, my time was divided between participating in workcamps and office work. I was involved in sending and hosting volunteers for projects (selection, correspondence with the host organizations and sending ...).

I participated in three workcamps of two weeks this summer, two as a simple participant, and one as a camp leader.

The first took place in Kumrovec, a small village on the border with Slovenia, where the village of the Tito's birth was transformed on a museum dedicated to him. We had six volunteers from all around the world (Quebec, South Korea, Serbia ...) and we did "environmental" work, consisting of cleaning a stone staircase of 600 m, covered with vegetation. I remember in particular those amazing meetings, the discovery of a culture, gastronomy, nature.

The second one was in Kutina, a small village in Slavonia, where twelve volunteers, including myself, have offered to fifty children different holidays. In a complex designed to accommodate them (art room, dance, sports), we realized various activities, like language classes, yoga, artistic workshops (origami, pottery ...), games and sports, according to the wishes and experiences of each volunteer. Despite the language barrier (I didn't speak one word of Croatian at this time), contact with these children was really interesting, and we found other ways to communicate!

During the third one, in Slatina, another village of Slavonia, we participated in an integration project for disable people. There were ten international volunteers, ten local volunteers, and ten people with disabilities. We conducted various activities to develop the creativity of participants, workshops about disabilities, or we just spent time with them. I was camp leader, and with this experience, although sometimes challenging, I learned to manage a team of 20 volunteers and working with a disabled public abroad.


Now I work in Zagreb, we organize different events (like the day of peace), and I am especially concentrate on my own project, which is to make a film about the oral culture of different regions of Croatia, bringing together the stories of older people with this heritage at risk.

This experience is unforgettable, I now feel at home in Zagreb. Voluntary status allowed me to meet many incredible people, and I discover, each weekend, the wealth of landscapes and villages in Croatia, between sea and mountains! What I remember most is the exchange with people about culture and history, so different from mine, every moment is exciting and full of discoveries!